Detroit stuns favored Bruins with late goal to take Game 1

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It’s been said the Red Wings aren’t your typical low-seed team, and they showed it tonight by squeaking past the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins 1-0 to take Game 1 of the opening-round series.

Jimmy Howard stopped 25 shots to earn his third career playoff shutout, but goaltender Tuukka Rask was also very effective tonight. The netminders kept this game scoreless for most of the contest by making some remarkable saves along the way, Rask finishing with 23 saves on 24 shots.

As the score indicates, tonight’s game was a tightly-contested and hard-checking affair. It wasn’t until 16:59 of the third period that Pavel Datsyuk managed to finally best Rask on a play that was made possible thanks to some beautiful stick work:

The goal impressed one of Datsyuk’s counterparts, as Logan Couture tweeted his admiration:

As for the big picture, Detroit scored a huge opening blow by taking a one game to none series lead and swiping home-ice advantage in the process. There’s still plenty of hockey left to be played and Boston is far from done, but Detroit has proven once again that it can’t be overlooked.

Video: Bruins establish physical game early

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The Detroit Red Wings do a lot of things right, but one aspect of the game they’re not known for is their physical play. The Red Wings ranked 26th in the league in hits during the regular season and Boston wants to use that to its advantage.

Even if it leads to the occasional penalty, as it did late in the first period when Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was charged for boarding Brendan Smith, playing aggressively against Detroit might prove to be the key to winning the series.

You can watch that hit and more analysis on the subject below:

Midway through the second period in Game 1, Detroit and Boston remain scoreless and the two squads are about even in shots on goal. However, Boston has a 22-15 edge in hits.

WATCH LIVE: Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins (Game 1)

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The last of the first round series is finally about to get underway.

Boston won the Presidents’ Trophy while the Detroit Red Wings barely scraped their way into the playoffs, but this might not be the mismatch that the standings would imply.

Detroit had to overcome some serious injuries this season and while the team is still missing Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk has returned to join the young players that got the Red Wings this far in his absence.

Boston still has the clear edge though and given the Bruins’ success in recent years, they can match up with Detroit in postseason experience despite the fact that this will be the start of the Red Wings’ 23rd consecutive playoff run.

The game will start at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, but you can also stream it online below:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Or if you’d rather watch Tampa Bay play Montreal, here is the link to that.

Related:

The last time the Red Wings played the Bruins in the playoffs, the world was pretty different

High praise: Julien compliments Detroit’s ‘layers’

Get your game notes: Red Wings at Bruins

Pressing question: Could this be the year of the upset?

Pressing question: How will Boston’s defense hold up?

The last time the Red Wings played the Bruins in the playoffs, the world was pretty different

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I don’t personally remember the series (it happened in 1957), but I know for a fact the Wings were expected to win the semifinal matchup after finishing the regular season with the best record in the league (granted, there were only six teams) while boasting the likes of Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay.

From a Sports Illustrated article dated March 18, 1957:

In the brash motor metropolis of Detroit, where all industry and seemingly all life revolves around auto-making, tradition is eyed with suspicion. “Last year’s sales records don’t sell 1957 models,” they tell you at the Detroit Athletic Club, social headquarters of the auto world.

The same attitude pervades an equally successful Detroit industry—that of producing championship hockey teams. Perhaps that is why no other city can claim a more consistently winning hockey tradition (if you will excuse the expression) than the one assembled by that city’s ever-changing Red Wings.

Yeah, Detroit’s economy has changed a bit since then.

Oh, and I’m not sure an NHL general manager could get away today with what Detroit GM Jack Adams said here:

“Hockey is the greatest spectator sport in the world—it’s a man’s game, but it’s best for women because the basic rules are so simple that it’s easy to understand.”

But I’d sure like to see one of them try! Just imagine the page views.

Anyway, the Bruins actually upset the Wings, 4-1, only to lose to Montreal in the Stanley Cup Final.

Get your game notes: Red Wings at Bruins

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Boston Bruins hosting the Detroit Red Wings starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— The Bruins and Red Wings are the only Original Six matchup in the 1st round. It is the first time these teams have met in the playoffs since the 1957 Semifinals, ending the second-longest postseason matchup drought among Original Six teams (N.Y. Rangers-Detroit – 1950 Stanley Cup Final). The Bruins now have faced every Original Six team in the playoffs in the past 3 years: Detroit (2014 1st rd.), Chicago (2013 Stanley Cup Final), N.Y. Rangers (2013 CSF), Toronto (2013 CQF) & Montreal (2011 CQF).

— Since the Presidents’ Trophy was introduced in the 1985-86 season, only eight of 27 teams (30%) have claimed both the Presidents’ Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same season. Two Red Wings teams, in 2001-02 and 2007-08, accomplished that feat. The Bruins, who were the NHL’s top team this season (117 pts.), will look to emulate the most recent team to complete the double, last year’s Chicago Blackhawks. Only once has the feat been accomplished in back-to-back seasons: Colorado in 2000-01 followed by Detroit in 2001-02.

Winners of Presidents’ Trophy and Stanley Cup in same season:

1986-87: Edmonton Oilers
2000-01: Colorado Avalanche
1988-89: Calgary Flames
2001-02: Detroit Red Wings
1993-94: New York Rangers
2007-08: Detroit Red Wings
1998-99: Dallas Stars
2012-13: Chicago Blackhawks

— This series features three of the longest-tenured active NHL players who have yet to win a Stanley Cup. For the Bruins, winger Jarome Iginla will be making his eighth trip to the playoffs in search of his first Cup, while the Red Wings’ wingers Daniel Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi are making their 14th and 10th trips, respectively. Here are the five most experienced players participating in this year’s playoffs – in terms of combined regular season and postseason games – who have yet to win a Stanley Cup.

Player | Playoff Team | Games played without Stanley Cup win

Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks, 1388* (1247 reg. season, 141 playoff)

Jarome Iginla, Boston Bruins, 1379 (1310 reg. season, 69 playoff)

Daniel Alfredsson, Detroit Red Wings, 1367 (1246 reg. season, 121 playoff)

Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks, 1333* (1207 reg. season, 126 playoff)

Todd Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings, 1245 (1159 reg. season, 86 playoff)

*includes Sharks’ Game 1 on Apr. 17

— Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask posted a career-high 36 wins (36-15-6) and led the NHL in shutouts (seven) this season. However, he struggled in four games this season vs. Detroit. The Finnish goalie played all 240 minutes vs. the Red Wings, and went 1-3-0, with a 3.29 GAA and .871 save%.

— With Barry Trotz fired as head coach by Nashville on Apr. 14, the Red Wings’ Mike Babcock became the NHL’s longest-tenured coach (hire date: July 15, 2005). The coach on the other side of the partition, the Bruins’ Claude Julien, is second on the experience list (hire date: June 22, 2007). Babcock led the Red Wings to their 23rd consecutive postseason appearance despite the team losing 417 man-games to injury this season (second-most in the NHL, Pittsburgh – 529).

— The Bruins have played an NHL-high 54 postseason games since the 2010-11 season (when Boston won the Stanley Cup). Six Bruins – forwards David Krejci (whose 22 postseason goals during that span leads the league), Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly & Daniel Paille, & defenseman Johnny Boychuk – appeared in all of those games. Kelly and Paille are questionable for Game 1 with injuries.